Sunday, April 10, 2011
Japan News and the Models
Something which I find quite fascinating about the news here in Japan is the use of model buildings when illustrating and discussing some recent events where they want to visualize the development(s). It's standard fare here in Japan but recently with the Fukushima plant situation there's really been a boom in the use of realistic miniature models. There are probably at least 7-8 major channels in Japan with their own news shows, from the more serious NHK to channels with a more sensationalistic slant.
However, what has been unifying all these channels has been the use of detailed painted miniature models of the reactors, capturing the white and blue painting of the undamaged ones and the destruction of the outer containers of the ones that suffered some explosions. Things like the installation of tall towers built to efficiently spray water into the reactors to cool them down was immediately added to the miniature panoramas without any delay. See the pictures here in the post to get a feeling for how these models can look.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm ok with the miniature models, they add some flavor and sometimes they are even mildly helpful to show what exactly went on where. However, mostly I am distracted from this by my thoughts wandering into the topic of who exactly makes these models? Does the news channels have their own in-house panorama model production staff or do they outsource it to professionals in the field? And if they outsource, is it a market with fierce competition or a buyer's market?! In my head, I get this picture of an extremely harsh market with rigged tenders and plenty of money exchanging hands under the table to get the best model makers to supply the channel with the best and most accurately painted models.
The only thing I miss is small models of people standing around smoking, looking busy or just chillin'. Maybe that's the next step to go for the channel that doesn't want to lose out in the panorama model war!